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Archive for May 2009

Kyle Lafferty did nothing wrong

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Kyle Lafferty didn’t do anything wrong at the weekend in my eyes.

He did the exact same thing that I would have done if I were playing in that game and in that situation. I’m a Rangers fan through and through – all I want to see is Rangers playing and winning. I apologise Kirk, I don’t want to bring on any flashbacks, but sometimes you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelette.

Now before I go off on a tirade, I should probably point out that I’m a huge Lafferty fan. It’s been several years now since I saw him playing for Northern Ireland under 19’s at the Riada “Stadium” in Ballymoney, Northern Ireland on a cold, wet, blustery night against a superb Paraguay side. Even then, everyone in the stadium (some benches with a cover) was excited watching him.

His movement as a striker, his commitment, his ability to finish and shoot calmly with the side of his boot brought him to everyone’s attention. I followed his career since that day and was delighted to see him in a Rangers jersey last summer – albeit for a fee that was always going to lump pressure on a young man coming to the club that he adores.

But I digress, back to the topic at hand.

I shall start with a question. How many of you out there, followers of the team since birth, playing in a game that you know could bring you a step closer to your first league winners medal in your first year of being a fully fledged Rangers player, would not have tried to take any advantage coming your way?

To take it a little further, how many of you playing Sunday league or fives have dove over for a penalty or shouted at the referee for a foul, fully aware that your mate is trying his best to act that he has just been scythed by a Glenn Loovens “fair challenge” instead of tripping over his own laces in a semi drunken blur from the night out you just finished a matter of hours ago? I’d wager a fair few of you and I’d also wager that none of you thought about being judged by your peers or the forbearers of your football club.

Yes. By the letter of the law its cheating. Kyle and Rangers have conducted themselves correctly. Walter is apparently dead angry (grrr). Kyle is apparently dead sorry (sawee) and out some wages that he really should be investing in some protein shakes.

Behind closed doors though, do you really think that anyone cares at Rangers about what he did?

Do you think Walters apparent “rage” amounted to anything more than maybe a slight, “awk, you shouldn’t really be doing that big lad”, with a wry smile and a ruffle of the hair – that is if he could reach? I’d even go as far as to say that at training last Monday he was probably greeted with a torrent of banter from the rest of the players. Hell, I know that if he was in my team I’d be ripping him to shreds. If he wasn’t already nicknamed “Bambi on Ice”, then he sure should be. He looked more like a machine gun fire victim in one of Rambo’s movies than a professional athlete.

Since Saturday there has been much said about it. Numerous traditionalists clamouring for him to be banned, severely fined or placed in the stocks for the public to pelt with rotten vegetables. Struth lines have been dusted down; talking about pride, the “Rangers way” and how our players should be above all the other tramps, gypsies crooks and thieves within football that savage it’s good name and professional spirit.

Bollocks.

We want to win. Yes, we all hate European style of rolling about like an egg down a hill on Easter Sunday (sorry again Kirk), or going over like they’ve just been sniped like JFK in Dallas – but in my opinion, if you’re going to get one over on “the man”, you might as well do it bloody right.

Why feign injury like a voyeuristic wee flash up a girls skirt to get a free kick on the halfway line when you can grab it by the hips and give it a right good fucking?

If last weekend against a ten manned Aberdeen, we had pummelled them by 6 or 7 goals, would there even be discussions on message boards about the morality of what Kyle did? When it comes to Rangers winning a game of football, or the league, I have rather loose morals. Bring me the joy and elation I feel when we score, when we win, when I see our players lifting silver trophies and I’ll easily live with the fact that a 21 year old Rangers fan playing for us threw himself over to get some mhanky Don sent off.

Call me what you will, but I won’t care a jot when I’m waving my scarf and singing at the top of my lungs with my fellow bears this weekend or even in 5 or 10 years time when I reflect back on the league that was 2008/2009. Sometimes many of us seek drama for the sake of it – it keeps us talking on forums and gives opportunities for people to air their differing views. It’s times like this, when we are in the midst of arguably one the most important weeks of our footballing lives that we need to put up a united front.

Kyle Lafferty is a Rangers fan like me and you. He was doing his best to bring us what we all desire, our trophy back – so for this Mr Lafferty, I salute you (which is handy, because you are kind of like a flag pole).

Roll on Sunday. It’s coming home.

Written by therabbitt

May 21, 2009 at 11:48 am

Posted in Uncategorized

“As I was walking down the Copland Road, I met a bunch of strangers”

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“As I was walking down the Copland Road, I met a bunch of strangers”

We all know the song, we can remember being taught it as a youth and now we all take pride in filling our lungs and puffing our chest to sing it loud and proud. But the song has a deeper meaning, it highlights the camaraderie and family nature of our famous club. Every Bear is a brother, united in the love of our team.

Recently, RangersMedia member kplfishtank from the Kinning Park RSC did just that, he went to meet a bunch of strangers. He travelled over four hundred miles south to the small Medway town of Gillingham on an invite from a friend. The evening was to be a night packed with cultural music hosted by the Invicta Loyal.

When he arrived, the first thing that greeted him at the Balmoral Masonic halls was a massive union flag bearing the name and mark of the Southend based Brittania Loyal. No more a reminder did he need of the size of the mighty Glasgow Rangers.

As he moved into the hall he was greeted by a room filled with traditional loyalist music and importantly, some Rangers songs that made him swell with pride. The room was decked out from top to bottom in flags from different supporters clubs from the length and breadth of the country; Invicta Loyal, Gillingham Loyal, London Loyal, Wellingborough Loyal, Ipswich Loyal and a blues brothers Chelsea and Rangers flag.

As the evening drew in and the booze began to flow a drumming exhibition took the floor from the Luton and Bedford Lambeg Drummers. With loosened tongues from all the lager, loads of which was provided by the Ipswich lads, kplfishtank got himself chatting to the organiser of the event and the lodge.

The club was founded in 2003 and has a very impressive 155 members; no mean feat for a club that is only over 5 years old. From within those 155 members there are 18 dedicated season ticket holders who make the long trip up to Ibrox for all of the home games. They have adopted the nickname the Medway Martyrs and are the first lodge to be in the Kent area since the Enniskillen Fusiliers were stationed in the Chatham Barracks during the First World War, many of whom sadly perished during the Battle of the Somme.

The evening drew to a close and kplfishtank came to a realisation. He realised that if it wasn’t for the different road signs and accents surrounding him, he could have been at his local pub after watching the mighty Gers.

Whatever it is that makes these bears ‘follow follow’ Rangers, we probably will never know or fully understand. For sure they are a credit to their supporters club and also to the Glasgow Rangers. One thing is for certain though, they truly made one bear feel welcome in their company. Kplfishtank may have went down and “met a bunch of strangers”, but he left having met a barrel load of brothers.

We are proud to be the real greatest fans in the world.

Written by therabbitt

May 17, 2009 at 9:08 pm

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On ‘three’, we can get five

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So we know what we have to do now. Ironically, it’s the same thing that supporters of Aberdeen do on a daily (hourly?) basis – we have to bend the sheep over and give them a right good shafting.

Two goals is the difference at present; a target has been set. Arguably this side responds better to chasing and being the underdogs, which is just as well as they bottled it big time against Hibs away.

This week Celtic were given the opportunity to apply the pressure on us, to test our mettle. They beat Dundee United by two goals to one and regained their lead astride the top of the league by a solitary point. Our players, management and supporters all knew what we had to do the next night against Hibs. Win. Simple.

This Saturday against Aberdeen at lunchtime, we have the opportunity to test Celtic’s mettle. Sodomise the sheep and we can shift the league pendulum in our favour. How many goals do we need? If we are two behind at present we will need a big win. Will four be enough? Possibly not as Celtic are capable of putting two past Hibernian (as they will undoubtedly lie down).

Five it will have to be. Now we’ve scored five or more against numerous opponents in recent times, including Hamilton in the cup and league and Inverness just this season alone. Both of these sides now find themselves fighting hard against the thread of relegation this season. But when was the last time we took five off the sheep?

Sadly, it doesn’t happen that often. By my (rushed) research in the last ten years it’s only happened twice. The last time being in season 2004/05 when we tonked them by five at Ibrox. That day it was Thompson, Lovenkrands, Novo (2) and Ricksen that were the men who stepped up to the plate. But there’s been 15 other games against them since then and no such repeat.

Before this result we have to go all the way back to season 1999/2000 with the Little General in charge. All the way back then – in the same year we were all preparing for the millennium bug to end the world – the scorers were Moore, Van Bronkhorst, Numan, Wallace and Ferguson. A cursory look at the squads at the respective managers disposal does nothing but reinforce how far we have slid in the last ten years. Yes, Walter did something Dick couldn’t do in his time at Rangers, took us to the upper echelons of European competition, but the brand of football being played is like night and day; like Albertz and Adam, like Numan and Dailly.

Two times in ten years. It’s undoubtedly going to be a struggle, but with the right attitude and aptitude for the task at hand it can be done. If we strike early and quickly capitalise on that lead, then we could make Aberdeen capitulate.

We can pray that three is indeed the magic number. It can be three in a decade. We have to keep believing.

Yet there’s another important ‘three’ that must also be addressed. Its the combination of three things that can bring us the kind of victory that will be like a sledgehammer to the confidence of the Celtic. Our players, our manager and us, the supporters.

The supporters need to be the infamous twelfth man that we all know we can be. Sing from the first minute till the ninetieth. Wave your flags, your scarves. This will help to gee up the players – the second fundamental crux of this trio. They were lax midweek. If they can maintain the standard they found in the second half throughout the whole game on Saturday then its possible. The final part of the ‘three’ is of course Walter; the team lineup has to be positive and the tactics attacking. If each of these can be balanced correctly then we can and will do it.

Standing tall in the team the last time we beat Aberdeen was one man that would tell us that we can do it. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you that the man I mean is none other than Marvellous Marvin. Again, I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you what he would say.

Together, lets all say it in unison…..on “three”…….1……2…….3……

“Keep Believing”

We are the people and we won’t surrender.

Written by therabbitt

May 17, 2009 at 9:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Stoical Smith or sloppy squad?

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Wednesday night was a shambles.

The team bottled it in the first half. No fight. No desire. Every player looking to every other player to pull the teams collective head above the precipice.

Whether the blame lies with the players or the negative, long ball tactics of the management, is a debate that has raged on since the final whistle the other night and probably will until the game against the shady sheepy men from the north.

Simply, Walter and his management team could and should have told the players to stop their long ball tactics. It was never going to work against a team sitting so deep and with such a strong tall centre half to mop it up against two strikers that are not the most mobile or strong in the air. So yes, that is Walter playing negatively. However, whether that was Walter’s game plan or was the players taking things on themselves to play like that we won’t know.

The team selection and tactical shape was not negative however. It’s the same team that has played and won convincingly in recent times playing some impressive football. The selection was not correct in my opinion, Lafferty should have started, but I can see why Smith stuck with a partnership in Boyd and Velicka that was playing well and scoring. Velicka’s scoring record of 6 goals in 5 matches is something that cannot be sniffed at.
I think that what happened last night was that we started off lackadaisically, not one player grasping the game by the scruff of the neck and taking charge. They looked as though they expected the win. A perfect analogy was utilised by RM member HighlandBear today when he compared the attitude of the team to a snooker player that had just recently completed a maximum 147.

When they realised things weren’t going to plan, we hadn’t scored, we weren’t playing well, we didn’t look like scoring – they reverted back to desperation tactics of lumping the ball forward.

Whether that is Smith’s fault is arguable. I will say that I believe it was more to do with the players themselves than the team selection and manager. He should and could have changed it before half time in terms of tactics, but he did so at half time and it worked. We looked a better side and dominated the game. We were very unlucky to not get a winner or indeed win by some 4 goals.

One thing that can be said for certain, if the same team with the same attitude takes the Ibrox pitch at lunchtime on Saturday we are as good as beaten in the chase for the league. However if the team can show the same fight, passion, agression and desire that was present in the second half we can and in my opinion, will, run all over Aberdeen.

The league is not over until we say its over. We will never give up. So come Saturday, wave you’re flags, sing with your lungs full, your chest puffed out and together we can bring the boys above the precipice.

Keep Believing.

Written by therabbitt

May 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Big Brother? Walter barely bothers

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Every year the producers of Big Brother are faced with the challenge of filling their house with a concoction of bizarre miscreants from across the United Kingdom.

This televisual brain fart occurs after a series of auditions that make you want to gnaw your way through a live power line. Every year, we, and when I say we, I mean the socially bereft of our society, gaze upon each fame hungry cretin as they reveal themselves like a lamb to the sanctimonious British slaughter from the limousine that they have rode in 10 yards up the road.

As they walk through the paparazzi and baying public on their way into the über-fancy, super swank compartment of cameras and whatever else happens in there (casual racism, nakedness and assault?); we are treated to some short videos comprising of their mission statements for their time in the house.

This pretty much involves them spouting keich about “how they tell it like it is”, “how if someone says something out of line they will speak up” etc. etc. It’s at this point we get an idea of their intended purpose. These troglodytes of society are so transparent that we can already see exactly who they are and what they’re purpose is for the show.

The gay one. The super gay one. The lad. The transvestite. The common one. The posh one. The old one. The slag one. The eye candy. The sporty one. The fat one. The racist. The single parent. The family man. The vegetarian. The environmentalist. The most Machiavellian. The one with the Mensa IQ. The ordinary one. The one that lost loads of weight. The midlife crisis one. The plastic fantastic one. The desperado singer.

Now I can hear your brain working. You haven’t written an article in ages and then you come back with this tripe. But I do have a point – not only having a rant at this ‘programme’. The producers carefully construct their group of people to ensure they have exactly what they need to make the drone-like British public watch from start to finish. Hooked for what seems like a fucking eternity. Some climate whack-jobs might be saying that the summers are getting shorter, but only in the land of Big Brother they seem to be getting longer.

Every eventuality is considered. Hopefully the racist says something, if not, maybe the common one has a go at the posh one. If all else fails the hot guy and girl might hook up or the slag might blow the family man. Who knows? But they have every possible base covered. That’s why they have so many different people; a melange, a group, a faction, an assemblage: a squad.

This is where Endemol and Walter Smith differ.

Walter Smith, since he taken back over, has not created a squad of players as yet that is capable of competing on all fronts across a season. We continually find ourselves having to turn to players who can slot into random positions and “perform a job” (makes me feel dirty even typing that).

Right backs at right midfield. Left backs at left midfield. Midfielders come, wingers, come strikers at centre half. There is no end to the square pegs stuffed into round holes at Ibrox of late. We all know it, we can all see it. It might be ok for a stop gap of one game, but it is too perpetual; every week we seem to be complaining about another player not being played in his right position.

The reason in my opinion is that we simply haven’t signed the right players for our system. To put it simply, we haven’t planned for every eventuality in the same way that Big Brother have. But I can’t be too harsh on Walter, he has signed players that have dragged themselves (most overused cliché in the run of last year) towards a UEFA cup final and took us to within a newts bollock hair of a domestic double this year. Yet, again, we will face the summer with the need for another squad overhaul. The annual “out with the deadwood” cries are already being sounded by many – and it’s true, many of our players will need to go, by necessity or by choice.

However, this time round, it should be looked upon as an opportunity. Our squad may well be decimated and rebuilt, but it can be done in the right way. If any of you have been following the fantastic blogs of Elfideldo about the under 19 squad of late, you will know that it is bursting with talented youth. Could the kids from Murray Park be ‘Aye Ready’ to step up to the plate? They might very well need to be. We can’t buy – or at least at a level we were used to – so they might need to form an important crux of the first team squad.

Walter and Murray have both already intimated that this will be the direction that the club will take in the short term. Something which can only be good in my opinion. However something else that could be of use might actually have come from UEFA. Yes, UEFA.

Michel Platini’s power in world football is beginning to take hold. The dominance he used to show for the French national side and for Juventus all those years, is now being transported into the corridors of power at UEFA and of FIFA. He faltered somewhat with his “6 plus 5” rule that he tried to get pushed through. Yet for me, it’s something that came from the Champions League that could be most useful for European football in general and in this case, for Rangers.

Every year the teams that register for the Champions League need to submit a list of the players that are going to play throughout the tournament. Yet there are certain regulations that must be met. Every squad must register 25 players and from within that 25, there are further stipulations. This includes some regulations pertaining to 8 players being “homegrown”. From within this pool of eight, four have to have been trained by the club and 8 or more must have trained at any club in Scotland for 3 years between the ages of 15 and 21.

Now I know that sounds wordy, but it forms an important structure that clubs have to adhere to. It forces each club hierarchy to think about who to register and makes sure they consider which players are needed. Moreover, it forces them to consider what could happen during their campaign, who could come in, who could cover for whom and also what players should be picked to fit what tactical shapes that might be required.

I suppose what I am advocating is that Walter should pay the same heed to his squad building, thinking about every and all eventuality. Also importantly, the fact that this 8 need to have been trained at the club or within the league will keep a real national identity and youthful edge to the squad. We need to keep the number of players in the squad to a minimum, a solid core of professionals that can be accentuated by both experience and youth. We have such a core evolving now; McGregor/Alexander, Bougherra, Thomson, Edu, Mendes, Lafferty, Boyd amongst another few candidates.

These players form a spine that has both domestic and European pedigree whilst is still to hit its prime. If this core is added to with a few experienced professionals, say a no nonsense centre half and a wiley, strong, crafty centre forward then it would add some extra steel and footballing knowledge to bring many of the other core players around them up to the next level.

Yet this still doesn’t complete the squad.

If this core and essential (in my opinion) more seasoned troop of players is further added to by the arrogance and hunger of youth then we could have a 25 (or perhaps better, a 23) ready to sweep their way to the SPL and make a decent showing in Europe. Many of our players that had outgrown the under 19s and saw no benefit in the antiquated and frivolous reserve league, have spent the best part of a season maturing and experiencing first team action elsewhere. These youngsters will come back to Murray Park bursting with confidence and have a real thirst to be playing every week.

Yet of course it is up to the management how they craft their squad. This article is not going to engage with the topic of whether Walter and co. are the men for the job of recreating the squad from the ground up. But one thing is for sure, it certainly needs it. We have the core in place. We have the youth bursting at the seams. All we need is to rid ourselves of some wood and add a couple of faces from the wages that will be freed and we are in with a very real chance at having a reinvigorated squad that is ready for all comers.

Endemol may well have thought out the brain-dead British public’s summer already. But it is now down to Walter, or whoever, to step up to the plate and take a leaf from the propagators of pricks book and create a squad of players that is perfectly tailored for any and all circumstances.

We all await with baited breath for this summer. I just hope the I don’t end up enjoying the look of the Big Brother house group more than the one created for the mighty Glasgow Rangers.

That would most definitely make me say both fuck and bugger…

Written by therabbitt

May 17, 2009 at 9:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized